Eight members of the former An'Nur Mosque have been found guilty of threatening and illegally detaining two people who had informed a journalist of suspicious activities connected to the alleged radicalisation of youths. Penalties include a six to 18 months prison sentence for unlawful detention, coercion and threats.
In February 2017, nine adults and a 17-year-old were arrested for physically attacking and detaining two Muslims inside the mosque and threatening their families back in November 2016. The victims were believed to have given information to journalists about a preacher who called for non-practising Muslims to be killed.
On Tuesday, a Swiss court found eight of the 10 defendants guilty of carrying out the intimidation at the now-defunct mosque, which was based in the north-eastern city of Winterthur.
The defendants had argued during the trial, which lasted several days, that there had been no attack in the mosque. However, according to the presiding judge, the chronology of the processes in the mosque could be clearly traced thanks to statements by those involved and police call records.
The mosque has long been suspected of having links to radical Islamic movements. It has been in the headlines for allegedly radicalising young Muslims in the region and recruiting jihadist fighters – charges that it has strongly denied. In May 2017, the mosque closed because the rental contract for the premises was not renewed.
A year ago, the Ethiopian preacher at the centre of the controversy was found guilty of promoting violence by a Zurich court. He was sentenced to an 18-month suspended prison sentence and ordered to leave Switzerland.